Stranger Says: While attending a film festival in Taiwan, an exiled-from-China filmmaker (Gong Zhe) takes the opportunity to secretly reunite with her mainlander mother via the chaos of a sightseeing bus tour. The Chinese government does not approve. Writer/director Ying Liang, himself an exile, brings an absorbing sense of reality to the potentially melodramatic scenario, particularly during the times when the characters are able to briefly drop the charade. (The hushed conversations between the lead and her supportive husband have a gorgeously unforced intimacy.) It’s a small marvel of gentle humor—the glimpses of the surrounding tourists are hilariously on-point—and uncomfortably pointed insights, featuring multiple sneaky moments of grace. (ANDREW WRIGHT)
SIFF Says: Like Ying Liang’s previous film, WHEN NIGHT FALLS, his new one also exposes Chinese authoritarianism—but this time it's personal, loosely based on his experiences after WHEN NIGHT FALLS outraged the government and forced him into exile.